Spiderman was suppose to open Feb 2010 for previews. Needless to say we got refunds. Finally Sunday Spiderman opened. Going in there were pros and cons.
The Pros: Julie Taymor who is a brilliant genius. U2 who are excellent rock musicians.
The Cons: Everything. Everything about this should make you think "This is going to suck big time".
We went to the opening preview at 6:30. The news vans were out in full force. The line was a full block long. Leslie Stahl who did a segment on 60 Minutes was sent to the end of the line. Yes, in full length fur coat, Leslie Stahl back to the back.
There were no programs being sold, only t-shirts for $40, and a lame poster. The show and audience were being filmed this evening. I imagine so they know what works and what doesn't.
The show started a half hour late. A Producer came out and announced that if there were difficulties the show would be stopped and started as necessary.
There were 4 stoppages in the First Act and 1 major one (right before the climax) in the second.
So, how was the show? Quite possibly one of the most spectacular Broadway productions ever. The staging, direction, acting, and theatrics are beyond the scope of anything ever done before (at points it reminded me of The Wall). I hate musicals, but U2 are not Broadway composers. This was so clearly U2 with a Broadway edge. The songs were great and most important memorable.
The problems are quite immense, and as the show is already $68 million in the hole, it could be doomed before it starts. It's not for Spiderman loving kids. This show is way too sophisticated for children. Old people are not going to want to see this. Spiderman geeks might not pay $140 a ticket. The stoppages all came from the arial effects, and not during the difficult ones. Spiderman at the end of Act One got stuck over the audience. It took stage hands about 5 minutes to grab his leg and pull him on stage. Act Two didn't start for almost 40 minutes as they tried to find what was stopping the rigging from moving. The worst part, Act Two is nowhere near as good as Act One. Many people were talking about it as they left.
This show officially opens (fingers crossed) January 11, 2011. Anyone who loves theatre should see it. It they fix everything and make a few changes to liven up Act Two, it should deservedly run for years. But, if it doesn't, see it before it closes. It is well worth it.
A hopeful note on tonight's news: The show sold a million dollars worth of tickets in one day.